Rewarding rewards

Reward programs feel good. Go about our shopping rituals and get rewarded for it, what’s not to like?! As far as I can tell, they date back to the 1700s in the US where copper tokens were given to shoppers to redeem on later purchases.

Fast forward 300 years and we find punch cards at coffee shops, ice cream parlours and bakeries. That said, things have changed a lot since the days of copper tokens. When we read the privacy policies of Airtime Rewards and TopCashback — two reward programs we’ve been asked about recently — it’s clear our data is not ours. The beauty of the punch card is no one can exploit my love of coffee, but with online and smartphone-based programs, I’m left in the dark.

We, Zevvle, don’t want to engage with middle people who siphon off our users’ data and charge us for the privilege.

More data, more accuracy

Think of a privacy policy as a list of the few ways your data won’t be used, and assume it will be used in every other way imaginable.1 If your data won’t be sold for marketing purposes, that leaves everything else open. When companies say, “We will only retain your personal data for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes we collected for…”, assume that means a long time. And as companies accumulate more data, we are portrayed more accurately.

However, there is no such thing as a free lunch. In return for convenience, we’re being taxed in less obvious ways, many unknown. We’re particularly concerned with the use of personal data because of how little we know about how others monetise it.

Nothing to hide

If you’re not doing anything wrong, there’s nothing to hide, right? Almost 400 years ago a French clergyman, Cardinal Richelieu, said this:

If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of [people], I will find something in them which will hang [them].

If you watch someone long enough, you’ll find something incriminating. We shouldn’t need to justify being ‘good’ people; companies and governments should justify their intrusion of our privacy.

The middle people

The value of personal data leads to companies in the middle. What do they add to society, and how many middle people do we need? The more there are, the more goods and services will cost as each company takes their cut of the purchase price. Who needs an MVNO like Zevvle? 😉

Be skeptical about how your data is used, be skeptical of ‘free’ things, and be skeptical of Zevvle! We hope you’ll trust us to treat you and your data correctly.

  1. Our policy needs a refresh; we’re updating it soon! 

Tim Goodall